Why is Chris Bishop asking patsy questions?

On Tuesday Stu Nash was on the ropes after screwing up the house.

Yesterday Chris Bishop stood up to ask some questions of the minister, but despite his angry disposition, the questions came out sounding awfully like patsy questions.

Patsy questions are usually the preserve of government MPs. They are questions where the minister has a predetermined answer that is usually glowing in his or the government achievements.  

9. CHRIS BISHOP (National—Hutt South) to the Minister of Police: Has he received any advice from officials about recruiting 1,800 additional police over the next 3 years; if so, on what dates did he receive that advice?

Hon STUART NASH (Minister of Police): Yes; 30 October, 13 November, 19 November, 20 November, 26 November, 27 November, 3 December, 4 December, 9 December, 10 December, 11 December, 13 December, and at other times informally when there’s good news coming through.

Chris Bishop: Why did he say, “The money is there” on 31 October, in relation to the 1,8000 extra police, when he admitted in the House yesterday that he doesn’t know how much the extra police will cost?

Hon STUART NASH: I admitted to no such thing.

Chris Bishop: What advice, if any, did he receive from Nanaia Mahuta that prompted him to back-track on his plan to import foreign police officers to meet his 1,800 extra police commitment?

Hon STUART NASH: I had fantastic conversations with the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, but we agreed that, if entirely possible, and the commissioner agrees it is, we want to recruit a police force that represents the communities they serve—more Māori, more Pasifika, more Asian, more women. This is what our aspirational target for the police service is, and we’re going to meet it.

Greg O’Connor: What advice has the Minister received on the recruitment drive currently under way?

Hon STUART NASH: The world’s most entertaining recruitment video is truly living up to its name. I’m advised that the video has been viewed more than 6.1 million times since it was launched, and it’s reached an estimated 14.5 million people. There has been a huge increase in applications, particularly diverse applications. As of this morning—where I also received some advice—there were 648 new applications made since the video was launched, with interest from over 2,000 people who are seriously considering applying. The first ever recruitment day for women was held over the weekend, where hundreds of women attended.

Chris Bishop: Can he confirm that the extra 1,800 police officers that he has committed to will all be sworn officers?

Hon STUART NASH: We are currently working through what this 1,800 officers is going to look like, but what I can tell that member is there are going to be 1,800 men and women out there keeping our communities safe and fighting crime. And what I would also say is that if that member wants to campaign for less police, be my guest.

Mr SPEAKER: I think the member means “fewer”, but carry on.

As you can see Stu Nash easily answered those questions. One would think that Chris Bishop was working for the government with those questions.

Perhaps it is because he was inculcated with asking so many patsy questions while in government that he simply forgot how to skewer a minister.

In any case perhaps National’s whips might like to revise giving so many patsy questions to National’s biggest leaker.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.